Unification News for June 1997
The Happy Ending for Religion
Prior to the decline in relevance of vital, mainstream forces in American Religion, namely Judaism and Christianity (which began approximately 1965), a fresh impulse captured the imagination of believers in both traditions. I refer to respective renditions of the insight that religion and society are integrally linked; socially aware, or socially conscious religion.
Two phrases were popularly repeated and cited in this time the first I believe attributable to Walter Rauschenbush in which he urged Christians to have the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. The other appears in an anecdote from the son of an immigrant who said that anytime he mentioned any current event to his European born father, the latter was sure to say, "Is it good for the Jews?"
I think of these often living life as a Unificationist; a world-changer. If ever there was a politically and socially engaged spirituality I think none could possibly be more so than Unificationism... there's the "newspaper" in that hand. And as I encounter each and every current event, trend, or development, my mind always asks "Is it good for the providence?"
This mental reflex which demands of all phenomena great and small, "Is it good for the providence?" also invites reflection on an enduring bifurcation of two types of religious personalities. I'll call them the Doomsdayists, and the Leavenists. For the Doomsdayists nothing is so good for religion than when all hell is breaking loose; 60% divorce, aids rampant, teens having sex during math class, and all manner of catchy shockers for lectures, sermons, and brochures. The Leavenists (I suspect to be a minority), on the other hand, see God's providential hand in incremental positive developments in culture and society: more family-based TV programming, Baptist virginity movements, the faithful execution of anti-adultery laws in the military and so forth.
The Doomsdayists probably fear that if things start moving in the right direction, people will be lulled and will fail to realize how desperately they need our solutions. Leavenists probably presume that all movement in the right direction has somehow or another been caused by us, even if we cannot identify in a precise or persuasive manner how.
I flew back and forth from somewhere lately and saw a couple of movies on board. Jerry McGuire on the way out, Volcano on the way back. I was struck by an identical dimension of these two very dissimilar films. That is both climaxed with a virtuous hero marrying a single mother with kids. I wondered, was this Hollywood's best effort to back into the pro-family spirit which has overtaken American popular opinion? You have to forgive Hollywood. A monogamous, heterosexual family is a VERY difficult concept for it to grasp. You have to allow at least a touch of aberration while it gets used to the notion.
I am of the opinion (for some reason I've never bothered to trace) that culture is a manifestation of the spiritual world. This is why the recurrence of this theme so strongly manifest caught my attention. What is going on here? Is it good for the providence? My response to this niggling habit of mind was this: Yes it IS a good sign, and manifests the expanding realm of grace characteristic of the current state of the Blessing providence. For approximately 40 years America has been investing in a culture of divorce. The negative psychological and social ramifications of this are immeasurable. If we were to rely upon conventional cures (social, psychiatric, political, cultural and legislative) for the groundlessness and social and psychological chaos wrought by a divorce based culture, the task would be overwhelming. What a Blessing it would be if there arose some other, hitherto unknown means of alleviating the devastation brought on by these forty morally lawless years,
On True Parents' Birthday, Father gave a long speech at Pledge service. At one point he said, "This 3.6 Million couples Blessing means the liberation of couples and families. Among the 3.6 million couples may be some murderers, robbers, and swindlers. If we have to deal with the individual circumstances and crimes of the 3.6 million couples, it would take tens of millions of years to cleanse them, but because of this time of Blessing grace, because of this Blessing time, and through this one prayer of mine, everybody will be cleansed."
This proclamation of Father seemed to match the facile happy endings written into these two Hollywood Blockbusters. As if by magic a happy, healthy, whole family arises out of the ashes of separation. A wife gains a loving husband. Children gain a loving Father. In Hollywood of all places, the monogamous, heterosexual, loving family is restored. Too good to be true?
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